The coronavirus pandemic has proven the age-old adage
In this edition of Wall City magazine, we take a look at the connection between the arts and rehabilitation. We pay homage to some of the incarcerated artists who left their mark on the world. There are myriad art forms that spring forth like water from the faucet of the human soul. The therapeutic value of art can be channeled into a road map for transformation. Through the process of imageining and creating, artists take us on a journey of self-reflection. They connect us to a Dante D. Jones // SQNews agency and power, a force to help change human beings, and even change worlds.
Without art we can’t appreciate life. We can’t really know what it means. Art is a reflection of who we are and the ways in which we see the world around us. If you look at a beautiful painting, watch an ancient play, or listen to a captivating song, you cannot always explain the feelings that make you appreciate the work. Art can show us the world’s darkness. It can take the mind to beautiful places. It can instill hope in people. It can help us relax. Art can warm the coldness of a soul. Art can help us appreciate our complexities and a myriad of emotions and the struggles we go through on a day-to-day basis. Art can build self-esteem. It can empower people to have a voice in their own society. It can provoke political activism. It can change the ways in which we interact with the world.
Without art, we’d exist in a world without mirrors. We would leave the world without a history. We wouldn’t be able to explore the world’s depths, or understand its deadliest sins.
These artists, many of whom are still incarcerated at San Quentin, created some of these pieces while weathering the storm of a deadly pandemic. Many of them were locked in their cages, occupying their minds with art while under Covid sickness and hearing of the deaths of their fellow incarcerated community members. Many of these artists used their art as therapy while mourning the deaths of family and friends and six million other people around the world.
A hundred years from now when historians look back on the COVID-19 pandemic, many will probably say some of the most compelling pieces of art were created during that time.
Art helps people process trauma. After a life-altering pandemic, art can be a salve for one’s mind, body, and soul. In this special edition, incarcerated people reveal themselves, their heartaches, their struggles, and their triumphs during their life inside prison. We will explore, not through their words, but through their art.